Casey board OKs alternative programs

December 19, 2003|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

LIBERTY - The first steps to help problem students stay in class were taken Thursday by the Casey County Board of Education.

The board agreed to hire a school security officer and establish an alternative placement program for students who cannot function in a regular classroom or has had problems with illegal drugs and alcohol.

Superintendent Linda Hatter told the board that the main hold-up is finding a qualified security officer.

Steve Sweeney, director of the Youth Services Center in the county schools, said funding is not a problem. He said he expects the city and county to help with finances to hire the officer. He said the Agency Substance Abuse Policy committee has indicated it also will help with finances.

"If you are willing to proceed, I'd be glad to get formal approval for funding from different entities," said Sweeney. "All have indicated they are favorable."


Hatter said the city and county will help with an application to get federal funds, too.

Board Chairman Don Sweeney asked who would actually hire the security officer since so many agencies are involved.

Steve Sweeney wants the county sheriff's department to actually hire the officer, but if it is unwilling, the city will be responsible. He said the person in charge will be out more money. He said an officer will have to complete two 40-hour training sessions before he begins work.

The city does not have any applications from officers but the sheriff's department may have some applicants, Sweeney said.

The new alternative placement program will cost an estimated $39,000 for the spring semester, said Deena Randolph, school finance officer.

She said the school system can afford the proposals from funds she has set aside for emergencies.

Don Sweeney said the school system will put up $10,000 or less for the officer and the other money will be for teachers and assistants in the class.

The board chairman said the classes can be located in a 1,200 square foot trailer behind vocational school.

High school Principal Tim Goodlett said curriculum has been located. Additional curriculum will have to be obtained for the middle school students.

"We're waiting on the word go," said Goodlett.

The next step is to identify the number of students in each school. Smaller classes for the alternative placement and day treatment programs will be more effective, said Hatter. She said fewer than 15 will be a good number.

"We want these kids educated," she said. "We need to keep the numbers low to do this."

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